In 1950, agricultural extension advocates Marian and Elton Tait purchased land in Central Pennsylvania just miles from their alma mater, Penn State. The Tait’s initial purpose for the land was to create a home for their family as well as to satisfy the couple’s farming hobby. Since then Tait Farm has expanded into multiple flourishing businesses.
During its first 36 years, Tait Farm was known in the community for allowing visitors to pick their own crops and for providing Christmas spirit through its tree farm. In the mid 1980’s an exceptionally abundant harvest of raspberries changed things for the farming family. Instead of allowing the fruit to rot, the Taits froze the berries and unsuccessfully attempted to sell their harvest throughout the winter months. Following disappointing sales, a family friend reminded the Taits of how colonists once enjoyed overly bountiful harvests: shrubs. This sweet yet tart Colonial beverage is created when fruit is preserved in vinegar, sweetened with sugar and then mixed with water or spirits. The first Tait Farm raspberry shrubs were created in the family’s kitchen in 1987 and became the inaugural product of the Tait Farm Foods line.
Since this first Tait Farm Foods production, the line has expanded to more than 50 products, including more fruit shrubs, cooking sauces, conserves, preserves, jams, butters, dessert sauces, mixes, chutneys, relishes, herbal oils, salts and honeys. Each of these is hand-crafted in the Tait Farm kitchen in small batches from only natural ingredients, including some from its the 10-acre certified organic farm.
As with other Smucker Farms partners, Tait Farm’s current owner, Kim Tait, has continued the family’s tradition of being a positive influence in the community. Last year the farm was even recognized for enhancing the quality of life in the county where the farm is located by fostering relationships between farmers and consumers.
At Smucker Farms we carry a variety of Tait Farm Foods products. While they are all good enough to eat or drink by themselves, we recommend the following recipes straight from the Tait Farm kitchen:
Cranberry Shrub Cocktail
1 oz. Cranberry Shrub
3 oz. White Wine
3 oz. Sparkling Water or Seltzer
Mix all the ingredients. Pour over ice and garnish with fresh fruit.
Baked Stuffed Brie with Fig & Honey Conserve
1 lb. Wheel of Brie
1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Tait Farm Fig & Honey Conserve
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Unfold puff pastry onto a floured surface and roll out to uniform thickness. Slice the Brie in half horizontally and put one half on the puff pastry. Place the Fig & Honey Conserve on the Brie half and top with the other half of the cheese. Trim off the four corners of the puff pastry. Wrap the pastry over the top of the cheese, folding neatly to make a smooth parcel. Flip the assembly over and place on a parchment-lined baking tray (or use the piece of parchment that comes with the pastry). Brush the top and sides of the wrapped Brie with the beaten egg. Cut out decorations from the remaining puff pastry corners and place on top of the brushed surface. Brush the entire assembly with egg. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the top is puffed and golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes so the cheese is not too liquid when it is first cut. Serve with crackers of slices of a baguette. Serves 12-16. (adopted from an Anne Quinn Corr recipe)
Pork and Apple Meatballs with Asian Plum Sauce
1 lb. ground pork
1 Tbs. butter
1 small apple, peeled & coarsely grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1⁄4 tsp. ground pepper
1⁄2 cup dry breadcrumbs
3⁄4 cup Tait Farm Asian Plum Sauce
Heat butter and Ginger Shrub in a sauté pan over medium heat. Stir until hot and bubbly. Add carrots, sauté until nicely glazed.